By Gene and Katie Hamilton
All licensed plumbing contractors are plumbers, but not all plumbers are licensed. A plumbing contractor can have other (sometimes unlicensed) plumbers working under his or her license. To find a plumber, ask friends and neighbors for a referral, use the "Yellow Pages" or an online contractor referral service. Another option is to buy the dishwasher at a home or kitchen/bath center where an installation service is offered. Usually there is a tag on the dishwasher indicating "installed price". Most stores offer the traditional cash-and-carry price as well as the installed price that covers installation. The retailer arranges for a plumber to do the installation and is responsible for both scheduling the job and of course, your satisfaction.
A licensed plumbing contractor is responsible for the workmanship and quality of his or her workers. This license may be revoked if the plumber has a history of doing shoddy work, so most professionals take pride in their work and value their licenses.
If you're trying to cut corners and save some money by hiring an unlicensed plumber to do a side job or work on the weekends, you don't have much recourse if the work is unsatisfactory.
Here are the basic points that should be included in a written contract with a plumber to replace a dishwasher:
- Description of the work to be completed with a detailed list of the materials to be used (brand name, style, color of fixtures and other specifications, including exact materials)
- Cost of material and all warranties from the manufacturer
- Cost of labor and amount of deposit, if required
- Job installation date